Arsenal exciting youngster, Folarin Balogun is set to be included in the matchday squad for the day 4 of the Europa League as Arsenal travel to Norway to play Molde FC. The Gunners are currently top of Group B standings with 9 points from 3 matches and a win in Norway tomorrow will guarantee qualification and a point from the remaining two matches will secure top spot.
While Arsenal cannot afford to gamble with the match and is expected that they would use the competition to bounce back after picking just a point from their last 2 Premier League matches, manager, Mikel Arteta can afford to tinker with the squad and doing that could mean giving an opportunity to the highly-rated striker, Folarin Balogun.
Balogun, Arsenal academy graduate is in the final year of his contract but talks on an extension have not progressed well as the youngster feels he is good enough to start getting first-team opportunities under his belt. According to legendary former Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, “if you are good enough, you are definitely old enough”.
This is from a man that has seen it all when it comes to raising teenagers into grown stars. For Wenger, the Carling Cup now Carabao Cup was the grooming ground but these days, things have changed and every cup is a battle to win. Arsenal are currently in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup where they battle Manchester City after ousting Leicester City and Liverpool in previous rounds. Mikel Arteta will see it is an opportunity to win the competition and as such, it is unlikely that he would turn to youngsters like Balogun in his bid to achieve that feat.
In the Europa League group stage, the situation is quite different for Arsenal as they are almost through to the next round of the competition and this is a good opportunity for him to have a taste of first-team football which is at the highest level. Should Balogun make his debut for Arsenal in the Europa League, it would go a long way in helping to convince him that he has Arsenal future.